This article draws parallels between analytical and continental approaches to ontology. It begins with a summary of nothingness from the standpoint of analytical philosophy. It then expands towards the Sartrean notion of nothingness and our own experiential intuitions of absence, extending then into what is missing in our lives as existentially distressing; concerning, in this instance, what is missing through the protracted absence of a dead loved one. Finally, disturbing and possibly traumatic encounters with absence are seen to have major consequences for our existential sense of being-in-the-world, where the for-itself manifests as a being of lacks, often eschewing thetic knowledge, where encounters through human consciousness may anticipate pathological withdrawal from the world. This is a situation that Anglo-American proponents of logico-linguistic analysis cannot adequately account for.
John G Wilson teaches Philosophy and English Literature at Assumption University of Thailand. He is interested in the interfaces between philosophy, psychology and sociology. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org